Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy
Hobart & SouthPut on the world stage thanks to MONA, Hobart is jam-packed with character, and a buzzing food scene that will delight even the most discerning traveller.
Hobart, the capital city, is your introduction to Australia’s lush island state. The Derwent River and mighty Mt Wellington frame this small historic capital, offering the best of city living - good theatre, arts and crafts, excellent restaurants, shopping and services without the usual problems of crowding, traffic and alienation. Hobart has preserved the best of its history in the warm sandstone buildings, busy working harbour and dark green forested hills. The south is a region of vineyards, fertile valleys, winding waterways and historic sites and villages. From the top of Mt Wellington, you can see the myriad of bays, islands, sea cliffs and waterways that enthral sailors from around the world.
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Things to do
Visit the Port Arthur Historic Site
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, located 90 minutes’ drive from Hobart is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site. There is a lot to see and do with more than 30 historic buildings and ruins to explore over 100 acres so you’ll want to allow a minimum 3-4 hours. That said, your site entry ticket is valid for two consecutive days and includes an introductory guided tour, harbour cruise, access to the Port Arthur Gallery, house museums and the gardens. Additional tours of the Isle of the Dead can be included with the harbour cruise, or hear of the many escape attempts with the Escape from Port Arthur Tour. Visitors can cover the highlights of the site with their guide on the Commandant’s Carriage Tour. For the brave, the ever-popular Ghost Tour runs after dark. 1830 Restaurant and Bar open from 4 pm offers views across the World Heritage Site and is a perfect place to relax after a day exploring. The Head Chef showcases local producers and their seasonal products.
Lake St Clair
The deepest freshwater lake in Australia (190 metres/623 feet), Lake St Clair was scooped during several glaciations over the past two million years. The Lake forms the southern boundary of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and the finishing point for the Overland Track, one of the world’s best multi-day bushwalks. During summer and autumn (fall), rangers offer a variety of activities such as walks, talks and slide shows for adults and children. There several short walks from the Interpretation Centre around the shores of the Lake at Cynthia Bay (Cynthia Bay is named for the Greek goddess of the moon). Some of the most spectacular walks take three to four hours or over-night – such as the walks to Shadow and Forgotten lakes. A pantheon of dolerite mountains – Mt Olympus, Mt Orthys, Mt Byron and Mt Ida surround Lake St Clair; at the southern end is a drowned moraine – the tumbled rock remains after the glaciations. The Aboriginal people of the area called the lake Leeawuleena, meaning sleeping water. Most of Australia’s mammals are nocturnal but at dusk or dawn around Cynthia Bay you are likely to see two species of wallaby – the Bennetts or red-necked wallaby, and the small more timid Tasmanian pademelon. And sometimes wombats and quolls head out after dark; echidnas and platypuses are also common around Cynthia Bay. Birdlife such as black currawongs, strong-billed and black-headed honeyeaters and the yellow wattlebird can be seen and are found only in Tasmania. Try fishing, boating or the ferry service traveling the 18 kilometre length of the lake, and meet bushwalkers completing the Overland Track.
Explore Hobart
Hobart sits at the mouth of the Derwent River in the foothills of Mount Wellington and is Australia's second oldest capital after Sydney. With its captivating history, picturesque waterways, rugged mountains and gourmet experiences, this compact city combine heritage charm with a contemporary lifestyle in a setting of exceptional beauty. Hobart's early life revolved around the waterfront and its maritime atmosphere is still alive today. Antarctic supply ships share the docks with deep-sea fishing trawlers, ocean racers, cruising yachts and sea kayaks while the early colonial warehouses that still line nearby Salamanca Place now serve as dockside cafes, design studios and restaurants. Salamanca Place is also where Tasmania's most visited attraction - Salamanca Market - is held every Saturday morning, all year round. Other Hobart attractions include MONA, Australia's largest private art museum; the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens with its Tasmanian native flora and beautiful heritage setting, and a drive (or tour) to the summit of Mount Wellington for spectacular views of the surrounding bays and inlets and the peaks of the World Heritage Wilderness Area in the distance. For those who wish to explore further afield, Hobart is within a 90-minute drive of the stunning coastline of Bruny Island, the tranquil beauty of the Huon Valley and the wineries of the Coal River Valley. There are also the walks and natural wonders of Mount Field National Park and the beauty and brutal history of the Tasman Peninsula with its spectacular coastline, geological features and Port Arthur Historic Site, Australia's most evocative and intact convict site.
Drive to the top of Mt Wellington
Rising 1270 metre above Hobart's harbour and the wide Derwent River, kunanyi/Mt Wellington dominates the Hobart skyline and is a wilderness experience within 20 minutes of the city. The 21 km drive from Hobart to the summit passes through temperate rainforest past glacial rock formations to sub-alpine flora and ends with spectacular views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula. The summit features an austere landscape of sub-alpine flora and lichen-encrusted boulders and is regularly snow-capped during the colder months. An interpretation centre at the top protects visitors from the blustering winds and a viewing platform on the western side of the car park looks out to the World Heritage Wilderness Area beyond. Bushwalking trails suit all fitness levels and there are barbecue and picnic facilities at the Springs, as well as coffee from the Brentwood Coffee food van. Other mountain activities include cycling, mountain biking and abseiling. Interestingly, Charles Dar-win climbed Mt Wellington in 1836 while visiting on the HMAS Beagle and found it "a severe day's work".
Attend Hobart’s Salamanca Market
Salamanca Market is one of Australia’s most vibrant and loved outdoor markets. It's a new adventure every Saturday, with over 300 stallholders it’s an experience that’s hard to beat. Salamanca Market is located at historic Salamanca Place, next to the Hobart waterfront, and operates every Saturday from 8.30 am to 3.00 pm. There is no entry fee, making it free to enjoy. Tasmanian producers and designers make Salamanca Market memorable and unique. Tasmania's biggest selection of locally-made products, including hand-worked glass, innovative design in Tasmanian timbers, stylish clothing, bespoke jewellery, organic produce, artworks, bath and body care, ceramics and leather goods, handcrafted cheeses, bread, wines and spirits, and delicious hot foods, can be explored every Saturday. Salamanca Market is Tasmania's most visited tourist attraction and has won many awards for excellence. In 2018 the market was awarded a silver award in the Tasmanian Tourism Awards for both the Major Festivals and Events and Major Tourist Attraction categories. It is proudly owned and operated by the City of Hobart.
Visit New Norfolk
New Norfolk is a pretty town on the banks of the Derwent River, surrounded by farmland and rich in colonial history. The town's many early buildings include one of Australia's oldest inns, the Bush Inn, and Australia's oldest Anglican church, St Matthews (1823). The town also has one of Australia's few traditional English village squares. New Norfolk is the centre of Tasmania's hop-growing industry and you're bound to notice the old oast houses along the roadside that were used for drying hops in preparation for the brewing process. Although no longer used, their elegant shapes give the valley a deep sense of history. New Norfolk is also a growing hub for antique hunters with eight antique specialists and the chance to find anything from Australian colonial furniture and Georgian silver to art deco treasures. Farther afield, New Norfolk is close to Mount Field National Park and Tasmania's World Heritage Wilderness Area beyond. There's a wide range of accommodation options available including grand old homestead, lodge and cottage accommodation. New Norfolk is a 30-min drive (38 km) north-west of Hobart.
Stay at Mona Pavilions
Mona Pavilions provide contemporary-designed sophisticated accommodation on the outskirts of Hobart, Southern Tasmania. The eight pavilions sit on a three-and-a-half hectare private peninsula overlooking the Derwent River. Choose from one or two-bedroom configurations, each showcasing private artwork from the Mona collection. Four pavilions are named for architects including Roy (Grounds), Robin (Boyd), Esmond (Dorney) and Walter (Burley Griffin) who have influenced Australia's architectural landscape while others are named after Australian modernist painters. They feature double spa baths, contemporary bespoke furniture by Tasmanian designers, furnishings from the likes of Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola and Ron Arad, and state-of-the-art kitchens. Each has a private cellar stocked with Moorilla wines and Moo Brew beer and access to the heated infinity pool, sauna and gymnasium. Australia's largest private museum, Mona, opened in early 2011 and guests have access to their choice of online imagery streamed from the Mona collection. Entry to the Museum is free for Pavilion guests. Experience the unique combination of fine accommodation and avant-garde art, coupled with The Source Restaurant and winery onsite. Mona is just a 15-minute drive (12 kilometres) from central Hobart.
Visit Huonville
The township of Huonville is just a 30-minute drive south of the central Hobart, travelling along the A6 highway in the heart of the Huon Valley. You will be captivated by the beautiful scenery during the journey, descending from the surrounding hills into a valley of surprises, with views of the majestic South West as its backdrop. Situated on the banks of the stunning Huon River, Huonville offers a multitude of experiences, from breathtaking bushwalks to a riverside stroll, a picnic by the river to a fine dining experience and everything in between. Pick some fruit or taste the fruits of somebody else's hard labour at a nearby cellar door; throw a line in the river or get out on it in a variety of ways - something to suit everybody's taste in the adventure. With a rich and complex maritime history and rural heritage, delicious food and beverages, health and wellness retreats, a picturesque coastline dotted with beautiful beaches, landscaped gardens and friendly artists and craftspeople - many selling their wares at various weekend markets around the region. It is an area where you can totally immerse yourself and create your own personal adventure... A variety of accommodation options are covered including self-contained cabins/cottages, quality B&Bs, farm stays, caravan parks, hotel-style rooms and backpackers hostels.
Explore Richmond
Richmond is a picture-perfect town that tells the story of an early Australian village and is the ideal place to learn about Tasmania's rich colonial heritage. The town has more than 50 Georgian buildings, many now offering high-quality accommodation. Richmond is home to Australia's oldest bridge, built by convict labour between 1823 and 1825, and Richmond Gaol, Australia's oldest gaol, built-in 1825. It's also home to Australia's oldest remaining Catholic Church, St Johns, built-in 1836. To get the most out of Richmond, try wandering its streets. The town has attracted artists and craftspeople for generations and you'll find their work in the town's galleries and cafes. You can also visit nearby ZooDoo Wildlife Park (do the free bus tour for a real surprise), test your sense of direction at Richmond Maze and Tea Rooms, walk around a model of the original 1820s Hobart Town at the Hobart Town Historical Village or simply sit by the river and enjoy a picnic while feeding the ducks. If travelling from Hobart to the East Coast or the Tasman Peninsula, consider visiting Richmond on the way. Richmond is a 30-min drive (24 km) from Hobart.
Visit MONA - Museum of Old and New Art
Located just up the river from Hobart, Mona's subterranean architecture showcases the highlights (and lowlights) of David Walsh’s $110m private collection of art and antiquities, as well as hosting a busy exhibitions program. Mona is also home to the Moorilla winery, Source Restaurant, bars, cafe, accommodation pavilions and more (plus Moo Brew, an off-site brewery). Mona also hosts two festivals. Each January, our summer festival, Mofo, which unleashes an eclectic mix of music and art. Come June, Dark Mofo winter festival delves into centuries-old winter solstice rituals and celebrates the dark through art, music, food, film, light and noise. Mona is located at 655 Main Road, Berriedale, Tasmania, Australia; a 15-minute drive from Hobart's centre, or a 30-minute ride on our MR-1 fast ferries from Hobart's Brooke Street Pier. For more information, please visit the Mona website.
Explore Derwent Valley and Central Highlands
The Derwent Valley takes its name from the mighty river that rises at Lake St Clair and includes rich farmlands, rural settlements named by Scots and Irish settlers, and rugged escarpments and forests. It's a valley of tough pioneers, explorers, bushmen, dam builders and bushrangers. Their stories begin in the historic town of New Norfolk, with its fine collection of heritage buildings and antique shops. Look for Australia's oldest Anglican church and the quaint toll house by the bridge. Further on is the Salmon Ponds where the first brown trout were hatched in the late 1800s. Today, their descendants provide some of the world's finest fly fishing in Tasmania's many lakes, rivers and streams. Next door is Redlands Estate, a once-thriving colonial farm that now produces whisky. Tastings are available. Beyond historic farming settlements of Hamilton and Ouse, the highway climbs into the highlands, crossing rivers where power stations harness the boundless energy of falling water. It reaches the stark beauty of the Central Plateau where 10,000 years ago glaciers scraped the rocks bare, carving the cliffs and digging out the bed of Lake St Clair, Australia's deepest lake. Turning off the westward highway, your route travels through to the lake country, where once a thick ice cap blanketed the land. Today, myriad lakes, all teeming with trout, sparkle across the plateau. Largest of all, the Great Lake stretches from the fishing settlement of Miena to Breona in the north, where the partially unsealed road begins to descend through tall forests with cascading waterfalls. Descending south-eastwards from Miena, the landscape gradually softens, and the place names reflect a European heritage - Nant, Cluny, Dennistoun - and Bothwell, a stately town on the edge of the wild country. It was Nant that John Mitchel, the Irish journalist and member of the Young Irelander political group, was housed until he escaped with the help of the New York Irish.
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